Kelly Bron Johnson (00:01):
Welcome to episode 17 of the intersections on the spectrum podcast. The intersections on the spectrum podcast is the brainchild of Doug Blecher and Kelly Bron Johnson created to discuss intersectional issues within the autistic community and give visibility to commonly marginalized, repressed, underrepresented, or erased identities and issues. We aim to introduce you to the people and stories that didn't know about, but needed to hear and hope that by seeing yourself represented in the community, allows you to feel seen.
Doug Blecher (00:31):
Today, we are very excited to be joined by Lyric Holmans. They/them known online as the one and only neurodivergent rebel. The neurodivergent rebel opened their blog in 2016, as a way to introduce people unfamiliar with the concept of neurodiversity to this new way of seeing neurological difference, the blog, which is sometimes released in written format. And sometimes as a YouTube video explores the ideology of neurodiversity and the creative expressions of autistic people. Holmans blog pushes for acceptance of neurological difference and respect for the autonomy of neurodivergent people. Lyric, thanks so much for joining us today.
Lyric Holmans (01:23):
Thank you so much for that. I just realized how much that is to spit out. So thank you for spitting out quite all of that text with all of that in there.
Doug Blecher (01:33):
I'm good at speaking, but I, but I do much better when it's, when I can read it.
Lyric Holmans (01:40):
Thank you. I'm honored to be here. I'm excited. Just even seeing what's your, what your podcast is about. It's like, Ooh, I love it. I love it. I can't wait to have a conversation today .
Doug Blecher (01:49):
Thank you, to start our conversation. What would you say are the identities that you would say that describe you?
Lyric Holmans (01:57):
Oh goodness. Many, many identities I have known for a long time. I was a person because that's something that generally, when you were, you know, like I knew young that I wasn't attracted to people of any one particular gender. And so, you know, that you're different from that perspective very clearly.
But the society is like, this is. This is not. So like I knew that identity for a large part of my life, but I say, I am a late discovered neurodivergent person, which multiple neurodivergent autistic and ADHD. And I think that late discovered piece is really important because not knowing that your brain is different or the ways your brain is different, you still know you're different. And it has these impacts on your life.
When you don't know this information about yourself, it's a bit different than if those that find out earlier in life.
Lyric Holmans (02:50):
And then, you know, the other identities that come with that as like, after figuring out I was neurodivergent and realizing, okay, well, I don't care. I'm like, I'm done trying to live up to all of society's expectations and standards. I started realizing how many things I was doing was performative is like that trans piece of me came out and I was like, okay, well now I've got to deal with this issue that I'm non binary. And like all of these other feelings I had been like repressing it's like once one mask cracks and you realize like, oh, I'm performing neurotypical oh, I'm performing female gender. You know, I'm performing, I'm performing, I'm performing. Oh, what I think society wants of me. And none of it was for my own sake. And so like, there's a lot of identities there. You know, I'm also, I'm mixed race, but I'm white passing.
Lyric Holmans (03:33):
I'm white native. So like there's things that people don't know about me and most of my identities are all invisible. And that's, that's the thing is like a lot of those experiences from being compared to autistic than anything else, it's all like, I see how similar, like unlike, oh, this is like the same, this is the same, you know? And so it's like, I get excited when I get to talk about how those things intersect. So, Ooh, boy, we get to geek out today.
Kelly Bron Johnson (03:59):
Yeah. It's a lot, there's a lot, a lot that we could talk about. Uh, and we managed to get it down to like nine small questions, but for sure, like, you know, I follow you on Facebook and I see your posts and I'm just always like, like, like, like, like, like there's always something. So yeah, I think so.
Lyric Holmans (04:16):
Thank you and that support means a lot.
Kelly Bron Johnson (04:21):
So you do a lot, a lot of work advocacy work for our community, and you've gotten a lot of heat recently for lobbying against ABA. So I'd like you to share a bit more about what you accomplished and what that experience was like.
Lyric Holmans (04:33):
Well, you know, it was Texas legislature. It it's hard. It's like, sometimes it feels like you aren't accomplishing a lot. Uh, you know, it wasn't my bill, but I was asked to come testify in support of the bill here in Texas and I'm bad with numbers. So like the numbers are transposed in my head wrong. So I'm not gonna try to get the house bill name, but it was basically just asking for a study on the efficacy and the outcomes, ABA and the cost and all of this, and all of these claims that have been made because recently in Texas, you know, it was passed so that more children were going to have access to ABA through public funding.
Lyric Holmans (05:11):
It was like, okay, well, all these public funding's going to go to ABA. Let's like really do a study on all the funding or the outcomes of these kids, things like that before we put that into place and like, really look at it, they did start with a hashtag that was like, stop ABA inTexas. But it wasn't really going to stop ABA.
It was just asking us to take a closer look at ABA and the scaremongering around that bill. Like once I got involved, which it was horrible. Cause it was like, oh, look, they're trying to take away all these services from your children. They're going to make sure your children can't get any kind of therapy. And it was like, they were saying all these things that we weren't even doing. If people even would have looked at the bill, what's hard about that.
Lyric Holmans (05:52):
It's like, no, we want children to have access to therapy if they need them, but appropriate. Like I already know, because I've been talking to a lot of people internationally in other countries where ABA comes in other states, it tends to leech all the funding and services away from other more proven, less controversial and more like safe things that can be helpful, such as occupational therapy or, you know, things that help around communication, speech and language therapy, depending on if ABA has creeped into that or not because even that happens. But there are other things that are safer that are already existing that, you know, once ABA comes in and takes over are often no longer available too. So it's like, we want to advocate for those services so that this doesn't come in and take over and become the only thing because so many autistic people know that this is traumatizing and not victims speaking up saying that they've been traumatized.
Lyric Holmans (06:45):
And I, you know, I'm a formal animal behaviorist, and I know a lot of these methods that they're still using on autistic and neurodivergent kids today, and ABA have been thought of as like, we don't, you don't do that to a dog. Don't do that to an animal that was too cruel to use on animals for years. But why is this okay with children, human, disabled children. This is not okay. It's treat them like their pets worse than pets. You know, I don't even treat my animals like pets. Like there are a lot more autonomous to give them the chance. My dogs know a lot of language can communicate their needs to me and things like that. Like I don't try to train them. I just try to build a relationship with them, teach them how to communicate with me when they need something.
Lyric Holmans (07:21):
And I give them choices. Do you want this or that? You know? And they can make choices if I, if I empower them to do that. But it's a different kind of a mindset with empowering and equipping instead of control and coercion and trying to, you know, kids are seen not heard kind of a mindset. It's almost where that ABA ideals come down from.
Kelly Bron Johnson (07:41):
Yeah. I think for me, the biggest issue is that the goals are not the child's goals, the goals of what the parents want to see their kids doing. And it's like, that's creepy.
Lyric Holmans (07:53):
That's like that dog training. It's the same thing. Like they want a quiet compliant, obedient dog. That's just going to do whatever you say. Uh, and that's, what's scary too about ABA is it's not just being peddled for autistic kids anymore. I've seen it peddled as like this behavior therapy.
Lyric Holmans (08:09):
That's for like any kid that has bad behavior, we'll send your kid away to this camp and you'll get a new kid when you come back, like, wow, what was wrong with the first kid you had like, wow. You know, like, and even like the marketing on these things, like, like that's word it's like, do you want to understand, like the kid's like, oh my mom doesn't want me. My mom wants a new kid. Like, how does that feel if you're the child and you see that like brochure on your parents' table that they bought this brochure promises to give them a new kid and they're gonna send them, you know?
Kelly Bron Johnson (08:35):
Yeah. But I can say, you know, even if you don't notice some of the impacts, I know that changes are happening. I've seen it because my youngest son possibly has fetal alcohol syndrome.
Kelly Bron Johnson (08:46):
We don't know yet. Um, so I'm part of a lot of, uh, fetal alcohol groups. And sometimes it's suggested that they get some sort of therapy where, um, uh, you know, they said, oh, you're recommending ABA for FAS. And there's actually already studies that prove that ABA does not work for kids with FAS. First of all. Good. Um, so we have those studies. And when I look at the comments in, you know, when in these groups, when people are saying, should I send my kid for this? You know, they, they send the links, they send the link to the study and they go, you know, they say also they go, the autistic community has been saying, it's harmful and doesn't even work for autism. So why would we use it on our kids? Um, so the word is getting out, like people are understanding.
Kelly Bron Johnson (09:28):
People are reading, people are learning more starting to, you know, parent in such ways that they're not going to resort to these kinds of methods. And, uh, so it is changes happening even in the last 10 years that I've been involved in advocacy, I've seen changes.
Lyric Holmans (09:43):
So I think it's encouraging. I mean, it was the house. It's like the bill got all the way through the house unopposed, you know, and then it made it to the Senate and then it just ran out of time and calendars and didn't get on to the floor. So we didn't get heard in the Senate, you know, but well, you know, it, it had a good shot and you know, maybe, maybe next year our legislative sessions are limited. So maybe next session, I don't know when the next session starts, but there was a lot of support.
Lyric Holmans (10:07):
Like we didn't have any opposition really. So I mean that, that's a good sign.
Kelly Bron Johnson (10:12):
And it makes sense. Anyway, if you're going to implement something like that, that it has to be cost-
effective for everybody. It doesn't mean it makes sense that you would spend money on an intervention that doesn't actually give you the results that you want.
Lyric Holmans (10:23):
So, yeah. Well, what they promise is it's like, if they do this, then the autistic kids are gonna be able to go to mainstream school and not be in special education. They have all these promises that ABA is going to do all these things, which it's like, okay. Based on what evidence, you know, and why is that what's desires. Yeah. Is that what's best? Or just because.
Lyric Holmans (10:43):
Or is that because the state gets money for the kids being in, but yet I don't know, like why, yeah. Why?
I don't know. We'll see.
Doug Blecher (10:53):
So Lyric, you know, for, for many of us, um, in the autistic community and, um, also outside it, I'm sure are shocked by the Judge Rotenberg Center, um, allowing to, uh, shock autistic people and those with intellectual disabilities. So I guess my understanding was that the FDA is unable to ban the procedures.
So that's why the court upheld its use. We know you're not a lawyer, but do you have any, um, ideas now that the community can use going forward to try to ban this practice?
Lyric Holmans (11:34):
I have a hard time believing the FDA can't ban this, you know, like they can ban things. Like I think if they had enough pressure from the public and enough outrage, they would have to ban this, you know? And so that's why there's been a lot of outcry on social media and rallying to get people to start talking about this, but it seems like the algorithms don't let this take off, which is really frustrating, or because I have to assume, I have to think that's what it is. Cause it hurts too much to think nobody cares about autistic and disabled kids. Like that is the alternative. It's either social media is bearings, hashtags, and nobody cares, which that breaks my heart. Like that can't be it. We really need people who have larger social media reaches than any autistic advocate that I personally know a lot of us I've got a fairly large reach, but I don't have anywhere near reach as like any of the top real celebrities in America or any country have, like, if we had five celebrities with million reach or more helping us support this cause amplifying us even one would probably be helpful.
Lyric Holmans (12:40):
But everyone's thinking about other things everyone's distracted. Nobody's giving this any attention.
And that's what really bothers me is we need people to like, get attention on this because I feel like if people knew, if more people actually knew and really understood what was happening, saw the videos, heard the victims, heard the survivors at this speaking, I think people would be outraged, but where's the media coverage? Where's the coverage. Where, where is the noise? It's, it's just buried in everything else nobody's talking about it. So if that's the stick, people were screaming it, but we're screaming into the void of the internet. And there's just not, not nothing, no response.
Kelly Bron Johnson (13:27):
Yeah. You know, like you said, the alternative is, uh, it's. It is sad. I mean, in the sense that, uh, you know, disabled lives in general are not valued. When I tried to explain that people are getting shocked, they kind of think, oh, well the person's misbehaving or something.
Kelly Bron Johnson (13:38):
I'm like, no, actually they're just getting shocked because they fidgeted in their seat or they didn't, you know, write something quickly enough, like, or they peed themselves. Like it's just like really arbitrary things. And I don't think they will have a concept. And I think the other issue as well is that we, we tend to silo issues and make it individual. So when you do that, you can just go like, oh, it's just this place over here. And that's kind of what's happening. Oh, it's just this place over here. It's just at the Judge Rotenberg center. So we can forget about it and think about it. It's an isolated thing. And it's like, well, no, actually it's systemic. This is, this is how people are treated. Not just in the US, but like all over the world in places that you don't know about and things that are happening, but you don't know about.
Lyric Holmans (14:25):
And it's not always shock callers. Sometimes it's exclusion. Sometimes it's restraint. Sometimes it's just being treated like who are less than human. You know, my partner worked in one of these facilities that was in charge of caring for people when he was younger, before him and I met before he knew he was neurodivergent. But he was the one that was always getting in trouble because he treated people, treated them like people. So you know that wasn't what was expected. And isn't an isolated incident.
There's this is like the norm in so many of these facilities where people who have disabilities or people who are divergent, which is treated like we are subhuman and we're treated like we are the problem.
And it's like, oh, these people are violent. These people are acting out. As for lashing out, they would give him those people that they thought were going to give him trouble and hinder his care.
Lyric Holmans (15:14):
Even though he was not qualified, but they were trying to like haze him into leaving. And they wouldn't act out with him because he didn't treat them like less than human. He didn't treat them poorly. He treated them like equals. And it was, it was totally different. He didn't need to tackle anybody. He didn't need to put anybody on the ground. Like they would say to put them on the ground and all that. It's like, no, you didn't, you don't need to do that to people. But it's when you have this mindset of coercion control, obey, comply, it doesn't work with animals or people.
Kelly Bron Johnson (15:52):
That's so sad. It's so sad. Okay. Onto the next intersection.
Lyric Holmans (15:58):
So that's an important one that we need to talk about it because we really need to keep up that conversation. So people don't forget about it because it is still ongoing, even if people aren't.
Kelly Bron Johnson (16:10):
Yeah. And that's yeah. Yeah.
Lyric Holmans (16:12):
And it just, it's a horrible thing to talk about. It sucks.
Kelly Bron Johnson (16:17):
Well, keep the heat on. We're going to keep the heat on and on that one. So also recently on your Instagram, you mentioned how the gender bias, the gender binary. Sorry, hurts everyone. I, what ways do you see it being most harmful?
Lyric Holmans (16:31):
Well, you know, there are like, for example, like non binary people, it's the most obvious cause it's like, oh, you don't exist. You have to be X or X or Y you have to fit in this box or this box you have to fit in this check box and anything in the middle is obscure. You know, that erases us completely. So that hurts. It is racially a problem because it is something that's been brought in as like a colonial mindset. And so, you know, we have cultures all over the world before colonialism came in and erased them that had other genders and the gender wasn't binary.
Lyric Holmans (17:06):
So like strict binary roles are like enforced, you know, as part of white Christian culture, which is oppressive. And, you know, I I'm a queer person. So I'm like, eeh, I grew up in the Bible belt in Texas where the church, uh, wasn't very nice about people like me. So it's, it's horrible to have like, you know, men must do this. Women must do this. And you know, it made me feel very lost 50 years growing up, even before I realized I was non binary because, you know, I knew trans people growing up, but I didn't know, trans non binary people. I only knew trans men or trans women. So like I had this very binary view of gender, you know, when you don't fit into that, it's like, okay, but where do I fit? You know? And so that really is hard. But then it also is hard on women who, you know, maybe they aren't non binary, but maybe they're just women.
Lyric Holmans (17:59):
And they feel like they don't conform to like, oh, women are supposed to do, you know, check, check, check. And then if they don't do those things, are they less of a woman? Or if we say we define women only by their body parts. And we say, women are, you know, you know, certain body parts and then, you know, a woman loses those body parts. Are they now no longer a woman, you know, like is how we are defining womanhood or manhood the same way it's like, are men only defined by these body parts?
What if they lose that body part? I mean, I know a man who wouldn't lose that body part because society says, now you're not a man. You're going to feel emasculated because society put all of that value in your masculinity on that one body part, you know? So it hurts even the CIS straight people.
Lyric Holmans (18:43):
It hurts trans binary people because now, you know, if you're a trans woman, you're like, I must conform to this binary stereotype. You know, if you're, if you feel like you're being pushed into this binary, so it hurts everybody, you know, it's like toxic masculinity, all of these things like come into this, like gender binary that if we just let that go and stop saying like, we've gotta be this way. Just let gender be fluid. I personally have, everyone will be a lot better off.
Kelly Bron Johnson (19:11):
Yeah. I kind of identify very much with some sort of like, you know, some people say, oh, I see gender. I, you know, I think the best term that fits for me is probably androgen. But, you know, I didn't have those terms when I was growing up. So I thought, I thought I was bisexual because that was the only, that was the closest approximation, because I only had, it was like, you were gay, you were bi, you were lesbian.
Kelly Bron Johnson (19:33):
That was all that kind of existed in, in my, so I'm like, well, I must be bisexual because I feel like I'm a mix of male and female. So it was really confusing because then I wasn't necessarily, you know, I'll, I'll say I'm queer kind of thing, more so than anything else at this point. But yeah, like giving people, the language, giving people, the understanding, having people just kind of break out of this box, these very rigid boxes of how people should be, or, you know, for me, I've always been extremely ambivalent to my body parts. So I call myself gender agnostic almost because this is like, you call me, sir, call me miss. I don't care. I honestly don't care. The only title I do not like is Mrs. So don't call me Mrs. But otherwise I don't, you know, I, it doesn't matter to me.
Kelly Bron Johnson (20:18):
So, you know, I totally, it doesn't mean anything to me almost, but I don't want to say that in a, in a way that like it invalidates other people, it's just, for me, I just really don't feel either way at all.
Lyric Holmans (20:31):
And I can, I can totally respect that and see with me, it's like, I'm like really at this point, anything, but she, and that's only because that's what people are going to misinterpret me as the most. And like, for me, I feel like that's a lie and I like to be honest and authentic. And it's like, I feel like you said she. I'm like, not really. And it's like, I mean, they're going to not correct it and feel like I am a lie or I'm going to deal with the discomfort of correcting you. And it's like, do you really want to do this with a grocery checker? You go see for two minutes, do you want to do this? Every single human you meet, you know, every stranger in the street, is it worth explaining because I'm in Texas realize most of these people are like, they is not one person.
Lyric Holmans (21:15):
It's like, what's a, Ze/Zem, like, they're not going to get it around here. So it's like, it's exhausting. I hope I can confuse people enough if they might ask. But usually it's just going to be she, and I'm like, well, yeah, you're wrong, but okay. I'm trying to like reframe it in my life. Okay. Well, you're wrong, but that's not my problem.
Kelly Bron Johnson (21:34):
Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
Lyric Holmans (21:35):
Because it's like, otherwise it's like, especially where I'm living. Even if I have my they/them pin, it doesn't almost like last time I wore it out somewhere. I got like the most loud obnoxious and like intentionally direct ma'am at the end of an appointment where somebody had been obviously looking at it for like an hour. So they knew it and it was like, oh, okay. Now I know why you were being a jerk to me, the whole appointment. I, it didn't even occur to me. It was like, Hmm, Texas. This is still Texas.
Doug Blecher (22:05):
You know, we're, we're put into to essentially two piles when we're born males or females. And so, um, I've thrown in the male pile and you were talking about toxic masculinity before at being in the male pile. Males will definitely like, for some reason, want to share these viewpoints with me. And then when I questioned them, it's like, there's a, there's a, there's a really long awkward pause. A lot of times that, uh, there's not, uh, the responses are quite interesting, but I'm just wondering, like, from your perspective, how do you see, like, how, how do you feel like that could change if we start to develop actually more than two piles in the human experience,?
Lyric Holmans (22:52):
Uh, you know, I think it could be very healing to set down some of those expectations. And I see there's a push for this. And already we're seeing more about like allowing men to express their feelings, which was thought of as totally taboo for long, like, like the toxic masculinity men have to be tough all the time. Men can't have feelings and it's like, most people who love men say I would like for my man to share their feelings with me, you know, they don't want their man to be repressed and hiding all of their feelings because that really harms your relationship anyway. So it's like, it trickles down to everyone you touch, you're hiding your feelings and nobody gets to know the real you, all of these problems come from that. So it's like, you know, that's one thing that I think could be really good.
Lyric Holmans (23:32):
And even like with the pressure on women, like you watch TV shows like women tend to like, are be portrayed in shows as like very competitive with each other, very catty with each other. Like it's just nasty behavior, a lot of times in competition with each other where it's like we to let some of that go too. So it's like, we don't talk about that as much, how some of that is really toxic as well. And you know, all we do talk about now about how they used to have the mindsets, like, you know, women need to be rescued. That's become like taboo. Finally, thank goodness that we're not like if you're a woman, you don't need to be rescued. We don't need a man to complete you because that was like the narrative for many years. So the narratives are evolving and changing. And I think society is improving as this happens.
Lyric Holmans (24:14):
There's a lot of repairs that need to be done on all sides of it. And you know, it's like a lot of people right now are so scared of nonbinary people. Cause they don't understand. People are afraid when they don't understand. And like, I see a lot of the most shade comes from women that are, seem to be upset.
They're like, why are you casting away your femininity? Like, there's like so upset, like by it, it's like, you don't understand, like it's okay. Like we will all be better together if we learn from each other, you know, it's, it's not like a competition to like trying to destroy masculinity or femininity or any of that. It's just saying that those things can live in everybody and can be fluid and situational and it changing and evolving. And you know, we just think about these things in less fixed ways.
Kelly Bron Johnson (25:01):
Now, one of your identities is being polyamorous. How do you see the intersection of that between your autistic identity?
Lyric Holmans (25:11):
Well, you know, I never, like, I remember being a young person and realizing very early on that I had that propensity to have deep affections for more than one person at the same time. And that was taboo and thought of as being a player or whatever, you know, that was not okay. But it's also funny because I've also since learning, I was neurodivergent realized that when I have a passion or a hobby, I fall in love with that passion, that hobby to very much the same way that I fall in love with a person. And you know, it's no different like, uh, you know, it's like, I've got to divide that energy up equally, regardless, but you know, being neurodivergent I think for me means I feel like this is something that I don't need to hide as much as where, because social constructs I'm on like my part of my autistic experience, although this is not every autistic person.
Lyric Holmans (26:03):
Like I know some very rule following autistic people, but like, I tend to be like, see the social construct and go, no thanks. Or I don't, I don't get it. You know, I don't get it. No. Uh, and so like the thing monogamous, I'm just like, oh, I don't get it now. Like I I'm like geeking out over like the history of how it was used to put women as property and all these things. I'm like, eww no, it's like terrible. You know?
And like diamonds, the diamond industry. That's like, I dive too deeply into like all of those traditions, oh, this is, this is not, I can't, I can't even pretend to like it, you know, where it was like the norm for everyone around me. And like a lot of people around me wouldn't even question it. Then the fact that I was questioning this, you know, the young age people were just like, what's wrong with you?
Lyric Holmans (26:48):
Why would you question this? Like, this is the institution that upon which everything else is built. And it's funny because it's just like another social construct. I'm like, I don't understand, like monogamy, it doesn't make sense to me, but some people can be monogamous and that just makes sense to them.
Right. So it was like just another normal thing to me. Like, well, why does everyone have to do this? Just because it seemed compulsory. And I was like, I don't go around with things that just seem compulsory. I have to understand the why behind anything before I do it. Like, if you're telling me how to do a task at work, you can't tell me just to do the task. I need to understand why I'm doing the task and appreciate the why and do it. I can't just like fake it my way through, I have to know something pretty intimately.
Lyric Holmans (27:33):
So it's like, not just like realizing I was when I was young that I had this propensity to have deep affections at different levels for multiple people. It's not just, it's not like necessarily a sexual thing either. But then the fact that I wouldn't question it or, you know, the fact that I knew I had to propensity to love people of any gender. And like that was thought of as being an exhibitionist back then it was like, no, I just don't feel I need to hide it. I didn't fear the embarrassment.
Kelly Bron Johnson (28:01):
I think autistic people in general are pretty immune to some extent to peer pressure. A lot of the times I don't want to follow those trends necessarily.
Lyric Holmans (28:10):
It depends on the thing though. I think because there have been situations where I know I've, I like to say that, but I fallen into peer pressure before sometimes depending on it was, you know, I don't know.
Kelly Bron Johnson (28:21):
I'm pretty non-conformant this is something that I think, I think people might have a, an idea or a misconception though that the autistic people would not want to have multiple relationships because, you know, apparently we're not supposed to like people we are not was supposed to have feelings, we're not supposed to want sex. You know, where they used to strange disabled, like sexless beings.
Right. We don't have relationships. We don't, or we have a lot of trouble having relationships. So how could we possibly have more than one? But for me, like, um, I don't, I don't like the term polyamory. There's too many things hung up with that. So we use open, open relationship, but, or at least ethical non-monogamy or something like that. I just, I don't like polyamory. I don't like the word. I don't like the associations with it. For me, it was really about more like, not wanting to be a possession or, oh my gosh.
Kelly Bron Johnson (29:09):
Ownership that, you know, freedom and stuff and, and not freedom in a reckless way.
Lyric Holmans (29:14):
Like you said, it's just like, I don't want this, the concept partner. Yeah, definitely. And I don't want to be owned and yeah, that, that is so spot on.
Kelly Bron Johnson (29:23):
Yeah. So that was very strongly in me from like, from my very first relationship. So people are always kind of surprised cause I've, I've never actually been monogamous. Like from my first high school relationships, it was always like, no, you don't own me, this is how it's going to be. If you want to be with me. Yeah. Deal with it is like, non-negotiable sorry, this is how I am. This is how it's going to be. But yeah, not that I had tons of, you know, open relationships in high school.
Lyric Holmans (29:54):
But that doesn't always go over well. Does it?
Kelly Bron Johnson (29:57):
No, it doesn't. No, it doesn't.
Kelly Bron Johnson (29:58):
Lyric Holmans (30:00):
I'm glad people are talking about this more now though, because I think years ago it was like, you would say that the only thing people would say is, oh, you're a, you're a slut. Yeah. That's all people would say. I was like, no, I'm not a slut. Like a lot of times it wasn't even about sex, you know?
Kelly Bron Johnson (30:13):
Thats it, yeah. So it's an interesting concept to try and convey when you're 16, 17 years old. But I had no words I had, again, I had no words and there was also like no vocabulary for that. There was nothing until I turned 19 and somebody told me the word. I didn't, I hadn't, I was just like, I just want this. Or I want a relationship to be like this. I don't know what it is, but this is what I want. And that was, yeah. No terminology for me back then.
Lyric Holmans (30:42):
Oh yeah. I know. No, there really wasn't. And there was no, and there's no role model. There's no example of it. Even now we don't have a lot of examples of this in like good examples of this in pop culture or in media, but it was some bad documentaries I cringe and yeah. Anyways, everything it's all
crimes, but I mean, I guess it's the beginning. Like people are just starting to share more, so hopefully it'll get better. Yeah. Maybe we'll see. I don't know skepticism right now.
Doug Blecher (31:19):
It's an interesting discussion because I, you know, I'm married, I have one partner, but I've, I've always felt kind of icky when by saying my wife, my partner, that, that type of language, uh, really has baby always feel uncomfortable.
Kelly Bron Johnson (31:39):
But I mean, you could still have more than one wife and you still, that would still be your wife, right?
Doug Blecher (31:45):
Like it's, it's connotating possession. Isn't it though?
Kelly Bron Johnson (31:50):
Yeah. Well, I still say my husband, even though he's my husband, just like my kids or my kids, I don't own them though. It was just the, the dynamic that we have built around that is, is what's important to not so much that, like, I mean, at the same time, my husband could also be someone else's partner and that's okay too. Right. It's not, it's not implicit in that kind of thing.
Lyric Holmans (32:10):
So I wonder how much of that comes from our neurodivergent desire for autonomy and like, knowing that the cost of having your autonomy taken away. Because I think so many of us like have that happen to us, whether intentionally or not like it's a parent speaking over us or speaking for us, or, you know, in some other system that's like, I would never want to take the autonomy away from another person.
Lyric Holmans (32:33):
And like, like I don't even like being in control of my dogs. I think of my self as their custodians, I'm their waiter, you know, I clean up their messes and I bring them food and I serve them.
Lyric Holmans (32:43):
But yeah, for me, like, it's also just about choice, right? Like I don't want to be with me because they think that they have to be, or that, you know, I've captured them and their mind. No. I want everybody to decide every day to make a choice to be with me, to me, that's what love is, you know, wake up in the morning and say, I want to be with you and not, I have to be with you. Yes. You know, so any minute,
you know, my husband could walk out the door and not come back and that's, and I have to be okay with that and I can do the same thing too.
Kelly Bron Johnson (33:15):
And he has to be okay with that. But there's a trust there. The very like, okay, that's probably not gonna happen. And I don't think to live in fear, I'm going to love him when he's here. And that's it.
Lyric Holmans (33:25):
Yeah. I think some people can't grasp it, but it's like, I can't grasp like going like ever pretending to be a different way, you know, or, you know, putting that piece of myself kind of back in the closet. Cause it was always like, oh, this is how I am. This is our relationship. But it wasn't like, it wasn't anything that we shared very much unless people really dug and asked and it was like kind of more like, oh, this is kind of a secret cause like, I don't know, like when I had a corporate job and things, you like worry, like you have these code of ethics and things.
Lyric Holmans (33:55):
Like if that was out on social media, when I had that previous job, I could have been let go of that for sure. Because it's like so taboo and like now I don't have a boss. I can say whatever I want. And I'm like, oh my gosh, I can't imagine like going back to that world where you and I can't openly have this discussion because if you would have asked me this question back when I was in that corporate job, I would have been in a panic. I would be like, we can't do this question. We can't talk about that. I would have had to hide a piece of myself.
Kelly Bron Johnson (34:22):
Yeah. Let's go. If you don't mind, we'll talk about a bit about your living situation. So yeah. We've been living in an RV for three years. So what went into that whole decision and uh, well I can, can I make it a two-pronged question? Well say, what are the benefits?
Lyric Holmans (34:38):
Yeah. So I guess the, what led into the decision is the benefits we had been talking about getting an RV, maybe a small RV and doing some traveling for a long time. We were like, oh, in 10 years, maybe once we'll be able to afford to do this thing. And you know, we had this house and this mortgage and you know, we're here in Texas. So when you're Austin, where real estate is just going and going and going, and we had it for almost five years and the property taxes just kept going up to three and it was just like so intense and things get breaking because you have to buy a house, that's a money pit. It is a money pit, you know? And it was just like, I was, it was so overwhelming to have this house to keep up with in my head, like thinking I'm going to pay this mortgage for 30 years of my life.
Lyric Holmans (35:18):
Like I have anxiety already and anxiety having extra pressure, sitting over my head like that. Like, what if I lose my job? Like my seizures were coming back really bad because stress or per job, you know, all of this, of course. And so I was like really scared. What if I've not been able to work, what's going to happen. There was so much worry about the house. We decided that financially, it didn't make sense anymore to try and hold onto this house. And you know, looking back, I'm so glad, you know, we sold the house, but it was a hard decision, but you know, the RV like the, because the market was better, we were able to put a good payment on the RV, into the house so that we didn't have to get a big loan or anything like that. We're living much lower expenses in the RV.
Lyric Holmans (36:04):
So that's one of the big benefits as we did it, just to spend less to escape the really ridiculous housing market here in central Texas, we are living smaller. So as a neurodivergent human, it is so awesome to have less, to keep track of less, to clean. Like even if that house is very messy, it's a little tube, it's a rectangle tube. I just go back to front. It's really easy for me to just make work my way across it. Within a short period of time, when I have the house, it's like, cannot keep up with it. It's like one parts clean. It's never all clean. It was just like so much stress that we didn't really need, but we did get a larger RV cause we have four dogs. And so we have four dogs and a large RV. So that was like big thing.
Lyric Holmans (36:47):
We had to have enough space for them because their family, you know, we didn't want them to not have space to kind of get away from each other when they need to or whatever, because they had a backyard that they were losing, but we'd go out and hike and walk and we probably could have been smaller. But now that we're in our roaming sensory bubble. So it's like traveling before, like you get on a plane or whatever and you go somewhere and you get a hotel, like all of that's really expensive. It costs a lot more to travel. And like, as an autistic person, new places, new situations, not knowing what I'm going to be, you know, what I'm getting myself into is really stressful for me. So it takes away from a lot of my experience traveling. Whereas like I have my house with me when we travel in the RV.
Lyric Holmans (37:28):
And so I get sensory overload, I get overwhelmed. I can't handle anymore. I can go crash and hide in my bed, my bed, you know, and it's safe and secure. And I have those comforts with me. I have my own bathroom because public bathrooms are terrible. Especially as like a non binary person. There is no bathroom for me, but anyway, they're just gross and dirty on top of that. So I don't have to go to gross dirty public binary bathroom. So like there's a lot of good things about it. And I can't imagine going back to living in a house, I actually, I like, I really I'm playing devil's advocate really hard with my partner. Let's go smaller. Let's go smaller. Let's go smaller. Which you know, he's not totally on board with that yet. I'll keep working on it.
Doug Blecher (38:14):
And Lyric, if any of our listeners weren't aware of you before, this podcast, um, how, how can they connect with you? Um, after they're done listening to you?
Lyric Holmans (38:27):
I'm actually really easy to find. So that's the good news. If you go to neurodivergent rebel.com or if you Google neurodivergent rebel, I'm everywhere. I'm on every social media platform. The only thing that's a bit of an anomaly is Twitter is at neuro rebel because neurodivergent rebel was too many characters, which I mean it's a mouthful. So that, that makes sense. But yeah, I'm easy to find.
Kelly Bron Johnson (38:51):
All right. So what kinds of stories do you think we should highlight as we go forward with more episodes of the intersections on the spectrum podcast? What would you like to see?
Lyric Holmans (39:01):
What I really want more of that we don't have enough of out there in the community is hearing from non-speaking autistic people. That is what we need to be amplifying, especially, you know, we talked about the JRC today, but a lot of autistic people that are going to be impacted by some of these issues are more impacted, are going to be those who are non-speaking or also those who have additional intellectual disability.
Lyric Holmans (39:24):
We need to hear those voices and we need to hear those stories, you know, and of course you're already focusing autistic people who are multiply marginalized in general. So, you know, that of course continues to be important, you know, right now and moving forward as always.
Kelly Bron Johnson (39:37):
I think, um, from my experience when you actually do listen, when people do listen to non-speaking autistics, they are loud.
Lyric Holmans (39:46):
They are, they have the best things to say they have the best perspectives.
Kelly Bron Johnson (39:50):
Absolutely amazing. And yeah, just very well. Um, I don't want to say well-spoken, but they express themselves really well and really clearly, and, and, and say things that I was like damn like it's just really like hit it. You know, they really hit the nail on the head kind of thing. Um, and so people do really need to listen to them because we are saying the same things and that's, what's also cool when people think we'll no non-speaking people will have to have different needs.
Kelly Bron Johnson (40:17):
No we're actually really, like, I'd say like 95% in agreement with everything. Um, they're just saying it better and they're saying it louder.
Lyric Holmans (40:26):
Way better, you know? And it's just like, we need, like, sometimes people don't understand like, oh, how do I get a non-speaker on a zoom or a podcast? It's like, we do it. It's like you have someone that reads for them. Or, you know, like the different ways you can do it, they might have a device that they can, they can, you know, it'll read it. They have device that reads for them too. So it's like, but it can be done. And I think it's so important. And every single time a non-speaker shares their perspective, I learned something new. So it's like, those people are who I want to learn from the people who really have the experience. And honestly it frustrates me because I see society is like, doesn't get to hear from this group of autistic people who have the most to say.
Kelly Bron Johnson (41:14):
Or they don't want to listen.
Lyric Holmans (41:14):
I hate that this group has a lot to say and we just need to meet them and listen to them in here. We need to be willing to hear them.
Kelly Bron Johnson (41:24):
We've had one, we've had one.
Lyric Holmans (41:26):
Yeah. That's awesome.
Doug Blecher (41:28):
One that used AAC yeah. Yeah. We need more. We need more. Yes. We will we'll be working on it for sure. Great. Well Lyric, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with me and Kelly about some really important things.
Lyric Holmans (41:46):
Thank you for inviting me and letting me ramble and info dump and, and work on it.